Thursday, May 23, 2013

SUCKA!


GUEST: Kevin Alexander Gray, civil rights organizer in South Carolina and author of "Waiting for Lightning to Strike! The Fundamentals of Black Politics," talks about Obama and the hope for economic justice.

I don't really understand the the depth of my feelings about Barak Obama. It was clear when he first ran for office that he was nothing but a fraud. Kevin Alexander Gray reviewed Obama's early political history, running against a black progressive for city council, as a favor for Mayor Dailey. 

But I must have had some hope myself that he would become something more once elected president. I was angry when he appointed Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff. Why bother getting upset? Maybe for all my protestations, I was much closer to mainstream America than I realized. I was just another SUCKA!

Or maybe it is my distaste for a man who would sell his intellect and his skin color to benefit the 1%. Intellectual whores abound in the empire.

“In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely.”
- Hunter S. Thompson

Friday, May 17, 2013

Read War Crimes Times


GUEST: Kim Carlyle, homesteader, army veteran, president of Veterans For Peace Chapter 099, and editor of the War Crimes Times, talks about his groundbreaking veterans' publication.

One of the advantages of War Crimes Times is that it tells it like it is. So many Americans just don't want to think of what war crimes are, or how our government is so deeply involved with international criminal behavior.
"Few of us can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied." - Arthur Miller
Read War Crimes Times at:
http://www.warcrimestimes.org/
Or better yet, order a bundle to hand out at your next event. There is still a magic in handing out something that will at some point be read, far away from any computer.

How does the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal define these crimes?

(a) Crimes against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a Common Plan or Conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing; 

(b) War Crimes: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war.  Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity; 

(c) Crimes against Humanity: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war,14 or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of domestic law of the country where perpetrated.
So what comes to mind? The illegal invasion of countries that posed no imminent threat to our own? The mass bombings of civilians? The use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium on noncombatants? The torture of prisoners all over the Middle East and at Guantanamo? The drone assassinations now employed all over the world? Take your pick; your government is guilty of them all.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Throwing a wrench in the imperialist machine


GUEST: Tarak Kauff, Veterans for Peace Action Team and organizer with the Occupy Movement, talks about his arrest and trial for reading the names of the war dead at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in New York City.


Tarak was arrested by the NYPD for reading names of the war dead after 10 pm at the Vietnam War Memorial. Click on the video link above to get a intimate view of veterans honoring their dead, and resisting the new military adventures of the American Empire.

Who pays the price for our invasions of other countries? It is simply American veterans, lied to, pressured to murder innocent people, and then discarded with their broken bodies and battered souls.

In some ways, American veterans serve as our nation's conscience. We can report the barbarism that most citizens don't want to think about. We remember the woman or the child shot out in some field for no reason in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Vietnam, or Korea. We know our empire is a terrorist state, because we have been the terrorists.

Resistance is our a form of redemption. Or as one Iraq vet said during the Winter Soldier Testimony in Washington, DC, "I was a monster once, but I am no longer that now." Many veterans spend the rest of their lives reasserting their humanity by throwing a wrench in the imperialist machine.

The following is a statement to the court by Jay Wenk, one of the vets arrested that day.

Your Honor, I was born in Boston, where I was nourished in the history of the American Revolution. I grew up believing in that noble fight for Liberty, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. I'm an honorably discharged Combat Infantry Veteran; I served in Belgium, Germany, and Czechoslovakia during WW2. At present, I serve in my hometown of Woodstock, NY, where I am an elected official. You and I, your Honor, have both pledged to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of New York. I have done that, and continue to do that, in War and in Peace. 
In observance of my Pledge, in the late afternoon of October 7 2012; that date chosen because of it's relation to the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, I went with my brothers and sisters to the Vietnam Memorial on Water Street. We intended to make an observance, a Memorial at that officially dedicated place. It was not an easy thing to do. The weather was atrocious; freezing wind whipped the driving rain under our collars, into our faces, our hands, everything. I mention this because we could have abandoned the proceedings, but our commitment to honor those whose lives were ripped from their bodies in war took precedence over our comfort. 
Tragically, for ourselves and for the entire nation, Constitutional protections for We, the People, were cancelled at that time and place. New York City Police, acting on some one's orders, interrupted our solemn memorial for those killed in war. Your Honor, in my Town we have a war memorial that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. In Washington DC, there is no restriction on when the public can be at the Memorial Wall. I wonder what thoughts were in the mind of whoever called the Police to end our serious observance. Certainly he or she is no Patriot, as I understood the term as a boy and now as a man. Nevertheless, we no longer had the right, the responsibility, to assemble peacefully, to speak out and petition to redress grievances. 
Your Honor, on the facade of this building, carved in stone, are the words of Justice, for all. I remind you of this because, as you know, this Nations' legal history is replete with unjust law. I don't need to point out the outrageously voluminous examples of them to you Sir, or to the lawyers and public here, but I will say that untold numbers of citizens have had their lives debased, if not ruined, because of legal but unjust law. I maintain that the actions of the police in the evening of 10/7 were unjust, even if legal. I have no quarrel with the police, they were following orders from higher up. Indeed, every one of them were sympathetic to our situation, and especially to those of us who are veterans. I have lived my life practicing Justice, as best I can, and I appear here seeking Justice.
Thank you, Sir.

Here is Tarak Kauff's statement to the court.

On the evening of May 1st 2012, I was arrested, along with Bishop George Packard, a much decorated Vietnam combat veteran, and 7 or 8 others, mostly veterans, for refusing to leave the Vietnam Veterans Memorial when ordered to from a megaphone held rudely and offensively approximately 2 ft. from my face by Capt. Edward Winski of the NYPD.  
The NYPD was there to drive out approximately 200 members of the Occupy movement who were having a well organized, peaceful and nonviolent assembly seated in the small amphitheater – the very thing one would expect and want to have regularly in a free democratic society. 
We were there as part of the Veterans PeaceTeam to try to prevent or stand between increasing and documented police violence and the young occupiers and to stand for all our rights to assemble peacefully and discuss issues in a public place - regardless of the unnecessary and arbitrarily enforced 10 pm “closing time of the park.” After all, where could we discuss issues? The NYPD has effectively shut down or hampered the essential citizen's right to assemble, time after time in public places. 
On Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, when the defendants and others gathered at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Water Street, we had specific purposes which we did not attempt to hide before the event. (Introduce exhibits 1, 2 and 3 – banners)

We were assembled to call for an end to the war in Afghanistan, to speak out against the horrific and unjustifiable 11 years of killing and destruction in that country, the connection between government and media lies and betrayal on every level of veterans and the general public before, during and after the Vietnam and subsequent wars. We were there to affirm our right to remember our comrades who had fallen in these wars and we were there, perhaps most important, to stand up for thevery life blood of civil society – the right of the public to assemble peacefully and address issues in a public place. We were there nonviolently and peacefully to directly challenge the Mayor and his own "private army,” the NYPD, for shutting down the public's right to assemble, when in a just society, they would be using all their meant to protect and insure that right, as would the courts. 
We were there to give the NYPD a chance to affirm and recognize our right, especially as veterans, to assemble peacefully in that open plaza dedicated to veterans, or as is so often the case, to clearly demonstrate the absurdity and arbitrary enforcement of a closing time that has no public safety component, in fact no other purpose at all, other than to be used by the police to restrict the right of peaceful assembly whenever they so choose.

Other veterans memorials around the country, including the wall in Washington, DC, have no closing times.

We therefore intended to stay in that place through the night or as long as it took to respectfully and peacefully read the names of the fallen and lay flowers in their memory. 
According to Martin Luther King Jr., “Nonviolent direct action seeks to createsuch a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatizethe issue that it can no longer be ignored.” 
The defendants believe strongly in that truth, so essential to our liberty. Our right to assemble is being circumscribed and confined to smaller and smaller parameters by a billionaire Mayor and his“private army,” who in the eyes of the public and in reality, protect and ensure the property and privileges of the wealthy upper class, Wall Street and its minions, instead of the common people, from whose ranks the police actually come, and whose rights and liberties they should be protecting.
Finally, as veterans and allies, especially those combat veterans among us, we know that we have every right to peacefully honor our memories at that particular place at any hour. We will continue to stand for that right. 
Tarak Kauff

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ten years ago in the land of the free


GUEST: Chris Hedges, writer and political activist, talks to the Green Party Convention about political repression and resistance (prerecorded).

If our government ever returns to upholding the Constitutional right of its citizens, Chris Hedges will be our historian of choice. He explains precisely how an advanced country in the Twenty First Century can strip the human rights protections we all though would last forever.  

The ultimate irony is that Obama taught Constitutional law. How ultimately flexible his moral universe must be. Whoever pays the most money gets to use his intellect and his skin color to further the interests of the 1% while elite. 

The late Roman Empire produced emperors of such cruelty and arrogance that they were no longer able to lead. Our presidents of the last 40 years have fit this stereotype. Smiling, they were capable of delivering the most unctuous pronouncements about democracy and human rights while slaughtering millions in the developing world.  

Now Obama claims the right to indefinitely detain US citizens without trial, as well as the right to assassinate them if need be. Who amongst us would have thought these words were even possible ten years ago in the land of the free.